Superheroes are courageous and mysterious crusaders for justice—with awesome disguises and gadgets. They also make great book characters, from picture books for little listeners to middle grade novels. Grab your cape and mask: Here are 21 of our favorite superhero books for kids.
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1. Ten Rules of Being a Superhero by Deb Pilutti (PreK–1)
Lava Boy highlights the essential guidelines for super-heroism, as demonstrated by his action figure, Captain Magma. Of course, “Saving the day is more fun with a friend,” as these sidekicks show.
2. Super Manny Stands Up! by Kelly DiPucchio (PreK–2)
Manny loves playing superheroes at home with his rainbow of capes. When he witnesses bullying at school, however, it’s his “invisible cape” that gives him the confidence to stand up for what’s right—and inspire others to do so, as well. Share this story to talk about how being an ally is the chance to be a real-life superhero.
3. Super Manny Cleans Up! by Kelly DiPucchio (PreK–2)
It was too hard to choose just one Super Manny book; this follow-up to the original finds Manny and his sidekick Gertie using their superpowers for environmental good. Litterbugs don’t stand a chance against these two heroes!
4. Max and the Superheroes by Rocio Bonilla (PreK–2)
Max’s friends tease him because his favorite superhero is a girl. Max stands by Megapower’s abilities, though. He’s witnessed her intelligence, brawn, and “ultravision,” which lets her “see right through walls.” Ask students to infer the sweet truth: Max’s favorite superhero is decidedly maternal.
5. Super Stan by Matt Robertson (PreK–2)
It’s hard to constantly be in your brother’s shadow, especially when that brother is a baby-superhero! When Stan’s teddy bear falls into in the (actual) bear enclosure at the zoo, though, it’s Jack’s brotherly superpowers that save the day.
6. Dex, The Heart of a Hero by Caralyn Buehner (PreK–2)
This classroom classic embodies some of the best lessons superheroes have to offer: the payoff of perseverance and hard work, the rewards of helping others, and the indomitable power of friendship. Dex, you’ve captured our hearts with your heroic one.
7. The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy by David Soman and Jacky Davis (PreK–2)
Pal to Ladybug Girl, Bumblebee Boy Sam just wants to play superheroes his own way. His little brother won’t stop interrupting him, even with repeated reminders that “Bumblebee Boy flies alone.” Eventually Sam decides that occasionally having a sidekick is useful—and fun, too.
8. The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man by Michael Chabon (PreK–3)
We picked up this title because it’s written by a Pulitzer-prize winning author; we stayed for the witty, deadpan descriptions, made-up superhero vocabulary (care for a “thermovulcanized protein-delivery orb,” anyone?) and the admission that behind every superhero, there’s a “secret-identity Mom” holding down the Fortress of Awesome.
9. The Three Little Superpigs by Claire Evans (PreK-3)
The three pigs earned superhero status for their dealings with the Big Bad Wolf, but when he escapes from “Happily Never After” prison with plans for revenge, their superpowers are tested. Plenty of plot twists, puns, and a well-placed jetpack make this a winner.
10. Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin (PreK-3)
11. Even Superheroes Make Mistakes by Shelly Becker (PreK–3)
A follow-up to Even Superheroes Have Bad Days, which we also love, this title stars the same original cast of heroes like “Icky,” the web shooter, and “Laserman.” The rhyming text weaves in social emotional learning and the illustrations offer tons of examples to talk about.
12. Superhero Instruction Manual by Kristy Dempsey (PreK–3)
Perfect inspiration for classrooms studying procedural writing, or just kiddos who want to be superheroes (who doesn’t?), this step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know to earn your title. There are plenty of follow-up possibilities, too, like picking a superhero name, designing a disguise, and choosing your superpower, of course.
13. Lucia, the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza (PreK-3)
When the boys at the playground tell Lucia that girls can’t be superheroes, she’s a “KA-POW kind of mad.” When her Abuela tells her about luchadores, brave and agile masked wrestlers, Lucia knows exactly what she’s meant to do. Also check out Lucia’s next adventure in Lucia the Luchadora and the Million Masks.
14. Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian by Jacob Sager Weinstein (K–3)
What’s better than an exciting superhero story to share with students? How about one about a super-powered librarian who “saves the world with the right book at the right time?” Be sure to notice the perfectly witty titles of the books in Lyric’s arsenal.
15. Batman: An Origin Story by John Sazaklis (K–3)
There are plenty of versions of superhero origin stories to motivate young readers, but we like this DC Superheroes Origins series for the back-matter bonus material. Build vocabulary with the high-utility words in the glossary, and check for comprehension with the included discussion questions.
16. The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale (K-2)
In a masterful blend of both princess and superhero appeal, this illustrated early chapter book series checks so many boxes. Princess Magnolia and her horse, Frimplepants, live an exciting double life as a monster-fighting duo.
17. Captain Awesome to the Rescue! By Stan Kirby (K–3)
Meet Eugene, otherwise known as…Captain Awesome! Soon after moving to a new school, duty calls Captain Awesome to find the missing class hamster, Turbo. This first installment introduces kids to plenty of details and characters (both good and villainous) to hook them on this fun early chapter book series.
18. Bug Girl by Benjamin Harper (3–6)
Amanda is obsessed with insects, a passion none of her sixth-grade classmates appreciate. When intruders threaten the town, Amanda develops insect abilities of her own and must use them to save the day. Any kid who has wished for superpowers to navigate middle school will appreciate Amanda’s mission. Plus, check out the sequel, Bug Girl: Fury on the Dance Floor. Where else could superpowers be more useful than a middle school dance?
19. Almost Super by Marion Jensen (3–7)
When you come from a family of superheroes, becoming old enough to get your own superpower is an eagerly anticipated event. Too bad Rafter and Benny’s powers turn out to be less than impressive. This endearing and funny middle grade novel explores themes of connection, identity, and friendship.
20. The Super Life of Ben Braver by Marcus Emerson (3–6)
Ben, an average middle-schooler, dreams of being a hero. He gets an unexpected chance to fulfill his wishes when he’s recruited to attend a secret school for kids with superpowers. Funny and fast-moving, this new hybrid graphic novel series is one to check out.
21. Sidekicks by Dan Santat (3–6)
Superheroes—or super pets, rather—are a perfect subject for Dan Santat’s witty artistry. In this graphic novel, a menagerie of animals vies to earn the title of Captain Amazing’s new sidekick. Both comic book aficionados and newbies will enjoy this one.
What are your favorite superhero books for kids? Let us know over at our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.